A new sculpture commissioned by the Bank for its’ collection and on public display as a centrepiece of their new exhibition “325 Years, 325 Objects” 22nd July 2019 – 15th May 2019. Admission free!
“Specimen Florae Brittainiae” is an installation of sculptures of individual stems of British wild plants: dog roses, wild cherry blossom, ox eye daisies, hazel, bindweed and daffodils. The work is an expansion of my wild flower/ weed sculptures and the ideas that lie behind them of natural capital, life cycles and the value and industry of an individual. It has been a fascinating 6 month journey making this work: I was working closely from life, gathering real plant specimens as they came into season, making prototypes of them, before working with the actual notes themselves. I liked the idea of the ‘value of the ordinary’ and I wanted this work to show not only the beauty of these familiar plants and their value in an ecological sense, but also to use wild plants as symbol of optimism: commonly found plants, tenacious and with a capacity to self seed, re grow and be very resilient and thrive in a tough environment, arguably positive traits for this time in British history.
The sculpture is made of a combination of genuine Bank of England £50 notes that were previously destined for destruction. Some were withdrawn because they are an old design and others were uncirculated test notes. I very specifically chose to work with the £50 as I wanted to use highest value – I liked the juxtaposition of the commonness of the subject and the value of the material. The initial idea was to make the work to just one colour, and so it was amazing to have the opportunity to use them as my primary material and to discover how many colours there actually are within the banknote design and to be able to make ‘white’ daffodils with red notes. I was also given access to the Banks’ Silver Collection and chose to use a solid silver Ewer made by Anthony Nelme in 1694, the year that the Bank of England was established. Installing the sculpture in this vessel represents both the 1st and current year of the banks’ history.
After the exhibition closes the work will form part of the Bank’s permanent collection.
325 Years, 325 Objects. 22nd July 2019 – 15th June 2020
The Bank of England Museum, Bartholomew Lane, EC2R 8AH